Breaking News
More () »

Larry Millete, husband of missing Chula Vista mom Maya, pleads not guilty to 1st-degree murder, weapon possession charges

Millete was arraigned on murder and weapons-possession charges Thursday in a South Bay courtroom

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — For the first time since being arrested for the murder of his wife Maya, Chula Vista resident Larry Millete faced a judge Thursday afternoon and entered a not guilty on a first-degree murder charge of killing his wife Maya Millete and a weapons possession charge. 

This arraignment, which was held in a South Bay courthouse, comes after a barrage of evidence has been unsealed, portraying Larry Millete as a vindictive, sometimes violent husband desperate to stop his wife from divorcing him.

During his brief arraignment, Millete's attorney, Bonita Martinez, did not argue to lower bail, though a hearing regarding his bail status was set for Nov. 4.

"I'd happily prosecute this, and I prosecuted for 15 years," said defense attorney Michael Cardoza. "They have got a lot of evidence against him in this particular case."

Cardoza pointed out that while the evidence unveiled in the arrest warrant for Larry Millete is overwhelmingly circumstantial, from texts and other messages to cell phone records to GPS coordinates to home security video, it is nonetheless powerful.

A bail review was set by the judge for Nov. 4 at 1:30 p.m.

WATCH RELATED: Larry Millete arrested for murder, what's next? Defense Attorney Michael Cardoza explains

"A lot of people may think, 'Oh, it's just circumstantial.' No -- that is very, very strong evidence," he told News 8. 

Looking ahead to Millete's trial, Cardoza also said that the process of jury selection could be impacted by the amount of evidence that has already been shared with the public.

"It's going to affect people's minds about this case, and I can almost guarantee you there are some people out there who have already made up their minds that he is guilty," he said. 

While potential jurors who know about the case would not necessarily be disqualified, those who've already formed an opinion would be.

"You know the type of publicity this is getting in the county," Cardoza added. "Everybody knows about it."

For that reason, Cardoza is confident Millete's defense will request a change of venue.

"Whether it will be granted, of course, will be up to the judge," he said.

Also unclear: whether Maya and Larry Millete's children may be called on to testify.

"It's likely that one if not both of the children, of the two older children, will testify," said attorney and former San Diego County District Attorney Paul Pfingst. 

Pfingst added that while this can be difficult, depending on what the children possibly know, it could be crucial to the case.

"I've been through this before," Pfingst told News 8. "Do we have to use the kids? Do the kids have to testify against dad? Do they have to be cross-examined about all this stuff?"

"If there is a way to avoid it, of course, we want to," Pfingst added. "But it may be unavoidable."

News 8 has learned that the three children of Maya and Larry Millete are currently staying with Larry Millete's parents. 


Before You Leave, Check This Out